tv [untitled] June 2, 2012 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT
the continental army became a school for the design of institutions and also a foreign idea of leadership. he also had to find a way of fighting the war. the american people had difficult requirements of their leaders. they wanted them to be bold, to take the initiative. but they wanted them to be prudent at the same time and prudent meant to be very careful with the lives of their men. and washington had to find a way to do both of those things as well. he had to find a way to fight two very skilled armies. the hessians were not the clowns that they appear in much of the literature, but were very professional soldiers. they had officers who went to universities and studied military science, i think, well ahead of the british in that regard. and washington was up against the first team here.
and the question was, how could his forces stand against such a formidable adversary? it was partly a matter of the long experience that these other leaders had had, compared with what the american leaders had had. he worked on a system of changing the tactics in the continental army. he began to use artillery. there was a lot of artillery available. it could be taken from ships in philadelphia. and in boston. the continental army developed a much larger ratio of artillery to infantry than was the case in the british and the hessian forces. and all of this -- the artillery was used up front in the way the german army used some of their artillery in the second world war. what it was meant to do is stabilize and support the inexperienced american infantry and the man at the center of that was the book seller henry
knox who taught himself about artillery from the books in his own bookstore. and all of this was put to work. and then washington's counsels began to get news from the intelligence networks that there was an opportunity in new jersey. the opportunity was that the british and hessians were having big problems of supplies themselves. they were at the end of a 3,000-mile chain. so they were distributed widely across new jersey to far regions of the country side. and the forage left to theft and violence and violence to murder and murder to rape. and suddenly, the people of new jersey began to understand what this occupation might mean to them and they spontaneously began to organize small risings all across new jersey without any command from the congress or from washington. but washington's intelligence
network told him what was going on. and he was able to very quickly act. he also knew he had to act in such a way that he could begin to rebuild confidence in the cause and to do that he decided in december of 1776 to throw into the test of battle all of his strength in a single effort. and it was an extraordinary act of decision that he made with his counsel of war. and they decided they would cross the delaware at four places and organized all of that. it was very complex. they set it in motion on christmas night in 1776 just as a horrific storm that anybody here from the northeast will know very well about a nor'easter which came sweeping in.
heavy rains, snow, sleet, and the conditions were just almost impossible. so nearly so that of those four crossings, three of them failed. only one of them got across the river just north of new jersey, just north of trenton, new jersey. and washington led that force into the storm attacking the hessians. the hessians had expected them to come. they had spies of their own. but then a small american force had attacked them in the day without orders. they thought that was the attack. and they let down their guard just for a moment and that's when the americans arrived. it was very carefully managed. the americans stopped halfway on and synchronized their watches. that's the first instance i can find of an army synchronizing the pocket watches that the officers carried and then they
attacked trenton from both sides within about two minutes of each other and won a great victory. then the question was what to do with the victory. and he had a couple problems there. the hessians were not drunk. we have eyewitness accounts of their sobriety, but the american army discovered quite a lot of liquor in the inns of trenton, and the american army got drunk. and washington had great difficulty getting his troops back again over the delaware river, more so than he did getting them across the first time. and he also was carrying back with him 900 hessian crystals. prisoners. and the question was what to do about them. the prisoners expected the worst. and to many people remembered what those hessians had done after ft. washington, after other engagements around long island and washington could have
gone with the lex telionis. it could have been an eye for an eye. but what he did with strong urging of members of the continental congress was to declare what he called a policy of humanity. that the hessian captives would be entitled to some of their rights that the american revolution was all about. they would be entitled to the right to life. that was very different from the law of porter in 18th century warfare. they were treated decently to their surprise. and this news spread rapidly around the world. we had a man now in paris as the news reached europe, and it was benjamin franklin and he published essays on all of this and the idea of humanity began to spread. it wasn't universally observed in other parts of the american revolution, but the
continental army tried to do that all the way into the campaigns of the 1780s. after the battle of calpins, when daniel morgan fought the group that was most hated in the revolution, tarleton's raiders. he wrote a letter up the chain of command and said we treated them with humanity. we weren't even rude to them, he said. the americans made a point of that and what they were doing was linking the conduct of the war to the values of the revolution. and washington himself became a symbol of that linkage. and that linkage began to haunt the opponents of this war. and one of the interesting things or the way it haunted george iii after george went mad, one of his delusions was that he himself had become george washington and we can see how this example of a humane and
highly-successful leader spread with the idea of the cause. and then after that, it was decided in counsels of war that one victory was not enough. so they went back. and it was those committees of sergeants, the associators, who were the prime movers of that. and the american army went across the delaware, fought series of battles, all of them very different one from another. one was a delaying action. a very difficult retreat from the road down through lawrenceville, new jersey. and they did that with great success. the purpose of that was for the american army to occupy a hill above trenton on the south side of the town. and there to draw the british troops into an attack which happened in a second battle of trenton.
and the british were defeated in that battle. then washington who was then in a tight spot, a light came on and he and his counsel decided they would try another attack and washington led his troops around the british armies to attack a british brigade that was in princeton ten miles away and the result was a battle of princeton and again another victory. so washington had won four victories in this very short period and they were very different one from another. and it was frederick the great looking on all of this, saying this was the greatest military feat he had ever seen in the conduct of that campaign. and that was only the beginning of that campaign. it went on in which all together the american army and the militia fought something like 80 engagements. they were very small, mostly
foraging parties, but what they did was slowly wear down the british and the hessian troops who were in new jersey. it was a heavy blow on that force. then as the revolution went on, there were something like 24 campaigns. washington and his two lieutenants who commanded in the same open way, that's green and lafayette, commanded in ten of them and they lost many battles, but they won nine of those campaigns. nine campaigns. there were other -- all the other campaigns, maybe something like 13 or 14 depending on how one counts, were commanded by other officers who didn't master that same method of command and the americans lost all but two of those campaigns. dramatic difference in the way
this style of leadership began to pay off. and then afterwards, washington was called to another sort of service as president. what he did was to apply that same style of leadership to the presidency. his cabinet was very much like his counsels of war. he tried to bring in very able people. he was comfortable in his first administration with people of high ability working under him. and he also picked people who were very diverse representing the diversity of the cultures in the country. and he could keep them -- he got hamilton and jefferson and john adams in the same room. and he kept them there for three, four, most of his first term. using that same style of open leadership.
it was a very flexible style of leadership. they had a cause and a principle -- set of principles, but they didn't have an ideology, a word that was just beginning to come into usage in the 1790s. they didn't have a rigid set of doctrines. they didn't have elaborate foreign policies, with a few exceptions. but what they did was to serve the idea of this new republican government in ways that moved it forward, but they were very flexible about the means. and washington would sometimes use the invisible hand of adam smith, and then he saw no contradiction in turning to the visible hand of the use of government to actually run what he called laboratories. we call them factories, to manufacture the weapons that the republic needed to survive. and it was that sort of flexibility that, i think, was a key to what was going on here.
he kept cultivating the art of silence and reserving his conduct with others. he was of the first generation to use the phrase public opinion, but he was not a democrat. he thought it was important he accepted the idea of the sovereignty of the people. he believed in the elections as fundamental to all of that. it never occurred to him he should choose his policies on basis of their popularity. in that way, he was very different from what would come later. he thought it was important that he should show himself to the people and so he toured the country twice, a huge labor to go from maine to georgia as he did so that he could really represent to the american people what was happening. he had the capacity for growth
and he grew on the subject of slavery, which is very interesting and another subject. and all of these things were going on at the same time. and then after washington, there was a period that ran through 1836. the presidents through andrew jackson all had one thing in common. they all had known george washington. every one of them. and they didn't copy him exactly. they were all different one from another, but they were inspired by that example of a highly-principle leadership, of a leadership that thought it was important not only to do the right thing, but to do it in the right way. that held to the idea of honesty, in government, and in politics. and that, i think, made a major difference in the course of the early republic. then there were other leaders who from time to time emerged who had the same success that washington had. not many of them.
i think abraham lincoln would be one. i would say frank lynn roosevelt would be another. all of the men -- one could say that washington was a little bit to the right of center. franklin roosevelt said he was a little to the left of center. i think -- abraham lincoln was right down the middle. and -- but all of them governed from the center. they really governed. and they tried to govern in ways that would engage a great diversity in their -- in their country. lincoln was very different from washington in the sense that he was born into a democracy. he bap became a matter man. washington hated parties. he believed in a nation. washington's thinking was not precisely national, even as it became continental. he centered more on this great republic than on an idea of nationalism. but these men shared those same
ways of having a set of values without an ideology. of having a large purpose without fixed and structured plans of the sort that became too rigid and constraining. of working closely with the people, but reserving their own leadership. and most of all, it was the capacity for growth. there's a wonderful book on abraham lincoln by eric funder, describes the growth of lincoln through the years, and the same thing could be written about washington. and then again about franklin roosevelt. now, he is commanding a global power, a completely different undertaking, at least in many of its parts. and he also built that broad base of very able leaders, putting republicans into the major positions early in the war, secretary of war, secretary of the navy. working across party lines in that regard. also, doing the other great --
combining the other great strengths of leadership that washington had, but in a different key, in another era, in a different framework. and now the question is, what next? we can see that people took inspiration from lincoln for that same period of about 60 years that had worked for washington. and then there's a wonderful book by bill lutenberg on the lang shadow of fdr running at least to ronald reagan. even reagan turning against the new deal, but embracing that style of leadership on the explicit example of franklin roosevelt. and now what today? what for us? and we look in this country and find many great leaders in every field. we find great leaders in american universities. you're in the presence of one in david borin, such an extraordinary leader that way. and there are 3,000 american
universities today, and most of them are in the hands of very good leaders. we see good leaders in government. one of my privileges is to -- talk to the first classmen at west point, which i've done these last two years. and the leadership of these young men and of the general officers of the u.s. army are extraordinary today. and we find that everywhere in this country, except recently on pennsylvania avenue. and i wonder what the future holds for us. and much of it, i think, it was said by thomas jefferson that his toughest job of his presidential office was appointing other people to office. and that's now our job. we have the job of appointing other people to that presidential office. and whom will we choose? i'm a centrist, and i'm not happy about my choices. as i think many americans feel
on both sides. and somehow, as the arnold brothers said, we have to educate our masters. we have to find a way of reminding people of the leadership traditions that we have had in this country. and they have seen us through very hard times. times much harder than what we know today. and i believe that we can do this. yet again. thank you. >> yes, sir? questions? >> we do have time for a question, if anybody wants to step down to the microphone. anybody? please. they're being shy. >> here's -- david.
[ inaudible ] >> about slavery. [ inaudible question ] >> yes. the yes, the question is what about, talk a little bit more about washington and slavery. it's a story of growth. starting with -- before the revolution when as i mentioned washington was comfortable in the role of slaveholding and became one of the largest slave holders in virginia. mae a success of it economically. but then he began to think again -- i think during the war and as part of the war and one thing that happened was there were these former slaves who were in his army and he was very unhappy to find them there. and issued an order saying they would be required to leave the army. the people of new england said no way. they're part of our regiments.
so washington sent out another order. we'll enlist no more in the future. and the new englanders kept enlisting them. then he said, we will have them in individual units, but we will have no units that will be black units and then that was done as well in rhode island. and there was an entire unit of african-americans later in the war. as he was doing that also into the 1780s, he began to correspond. there's some new work from scholars who have been reading the books in washington's library. they have found that washington was buying and realing many of the anti-slavery tracks of his time. they were pouring in from all over the world. and he was part of a kind of
western movement that was had a very particular quality. it was not only british, but also french. it tended to be centered on gradual emancipation. and he was moving in that direction. and then he decided that he would not free his slaves in his lifetime. others were doing that. it was spreading very rapidly particularly in maryland, in virginia, especially in delaware. but he chose not to do that. i think part it was complicated because things were not -- most of them were not his slaves. they belonged to his wife. and there was some complication about that as well. but he did finally decide as others did not to end slavery. what drove him there i think it
was probably that idea of these men engaged in a struggle for the cause. it has been observed that that's happened again and again in american reform movement. j. adams tried to explain why women's suffrage was enacted after world war one. she said that the decisive factor was the support of women in this country where the american war effort in world war i which one the respect of people who had to vote on that question in the congress and in the legislature. i think it may have been something like that that was working with george washington on the subject of slavery. >> thank professor fisher for an amazing talk. >> thank you. [ applause ] this year c-span's local content vehicles are traveling the country exploring american history. next, a look at our recent visit
to wichita, kansas. you're watching american history tv. all weekend every weekend on c-span3. the nation promoted prohibition throughout the united states during the women's temperance movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. kansas banned the sale of alcohol in 1881. but many establishments continued to sell alcohol illegally. >> she instilled fear in the bars she entered and the patrons at the bar drinking. a 6'1" woman walks in with an ax, throwing rocks, destroy things, you probably don't get in her way. this is the eaton place apartments. originally it was the eaton hotel before that it was the carey hotel where the infamous carey nation destroyed the bar on her crew said against prohibition here in kansas. december 26th, 1900, she entered the carey hotel bar.
she sang songs, say prayers, grabbed her ax and began smashing the bar, destroying the bottles of booze and damaged the lovely painting of cleopatra that lung behind the bar. it all started in 1854 when carrie was born about 150 years ago. about 1900 when she was in her late 40's by then, moved to medicine lodge, kansas. medicine lodge she joined the temperance group. ladies who were in support of prohibition. 1881 kansas was in prohibition. the nation didn't enter prohibition until much later after the turn of the century, if you can imagine that. by 1900, she set her sights on wichita. oddly enough she was only in wichita a month but it was a very exciting month. wichita was presumably a high
target rich area for bars and for boozers in her eyes. a good population and they had a newspaper. the bar was in operation during prohibition and as most bars in prohibition were located in basements of buildings. they usually had an exterior stair entrance or in this case in this building during the renovation several tunnels and secret passageways were discovered where men could go down, go through a secret passageway and enter a bar down in the basement. there is a picture here that has survived history of the bar that was destroyed by carrie. she was immediately arrested, taken down to the city jail. there are several pictures of her kneeling with her bible in
front of a chair inside the jail. when she was arrested in wichita, the accounts in the eagle portrayed her at six feet tall, 200 pounds, she was a huge person by any standards of the day at the turn of the century. most men weren't that big at that time. but she was released almost 30 days later by hab yus corpus by the supreme court. the next day she walk from the jail across douglas and tried to destroy two more bars and the bartenders i think had a heads up. they were looking for her. they came after her in the street with a shotgun pointed at her and she subsequently decided, well, i don't think i'm going to do this today. and she left kansas.
she entered the touring lecture circuit. she went into vaudville and lectured there. she sold souvenirs of the ax that she became famous for holding in the photograph on the wall there. in 1901 her second husband david nation divorced her claiming desertion because at that time she was traveling all over destroying bars. then in 1904 she did return to wichita. she lived here for a while. she was off her bar destruction campaign. between -- actually between 1900 and 1910 she was arrested 30 times. paid jail fines from her lecture fees and the sales of her souvenir hatchets. after leaving wichita, carrie shortly thereafter moved to eleven worth, kansas, where she died on june 9th, 1911.
prohibition didn't end in the united states until 1933. prohibition continued in kansas until 1948. and even after that, it was highly restricted. kansas being a red state the liquor laws here really didn't catch up with the rest of the nation until get this is late 1980s. this weekend american history tv is featuring wichita, kansas. our local content vehicles recently visited wichita to learn about its rich history. learn more about wichita and c-span's local content vehicles at cspan.org/local content. next month we'll feature jefferson city, missouri. you're watching american history tv. all weekend every weekend on c-span3. each sunday evening at 7:30 now through labor day weekend american history tv features our series the contenders. ey